Discriminating indiscriminately...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Music trends

Last.fm is great site for finding out more about music, for recording your own music preferences, and potentially connecting to others with similar preferences. I've not used the latter function, although it is interesting to see how many people out there have eerily similar music preferences.

Interestingly, I see Google has tentatively moved into the same field with Music Trends, a Labs project. It's nowhere near as fully featured as Last.fm, but certainly one can see the potential there. Similarly, they use a local client (in this case Gtalk) to snoop on a music player to upload the playstream to the server.

The links from the Trends page lead to an artist/song customised search result page. I had rather hoped to see a Trends-like chart showing temporal popularity, but I suppose they're not implementing the infosthetics fodder first and are concentrating on the basic features. Certainly looks like the monetisation is not going to be an afterthought, here!

For now, last.fm is safe since it offers song previews and you can usefully tag songs. Usefully, last.fm artist/song pages often rate highly in search results too. Perhaps music is too specialised to have a generic solution be worth using!


nick said...

Mark, makes me wonder where playlist.com figures in your assessment. I've dl'd the latest songbird and am impressed with its integration with sites like lastfm, along with much other funtionality that will provide a comprehensive music environment on the desktop. Having lyrics displayed while listening to radiohead tracks!!

Mark said...

Hey Nick, this post was from quite a while ago; things have certainly moved on since then.

Looks like Google's music trends is no longer going. On the other hand playlist.com and Spotify certainly are coming along nicely -- no doubt, funding helps. :-)

I like all these services -- it's good to see someone taking on Apple and Microsoft (and Winamp?) etc in building decent media players. But I think that the key now is to get something running on mobile. While I do listen to music at my desk and at home, my main need now is to listen to something on the move. Spotify running on my phone -- even when I'm underground, with some temporarily cached data -- would be the ultimate.

It would be great if you could get chords and lyrics to display next to a song either in audio or video (might attract some legal attention!). Just tonight I had a go at learning the Conchords song "Bret You've Got It Going On", and some manual browser window layout changes had to be made to see Jermaine's fingerwork at the same time as the chords.